If you are planning a trip to Italy this summer, make it your mission to eschew the cities of Rome, Milan and Venice. Instead, head south to Puglia and discover coastal charm, boutique hotels – and not a tourist in sight.
Located on the heel of Italy, Puglia is flanked by the Adriatic and Ionian seas. Puglia has a lot going for it, with some of the most beautiful seas and costal towns like Galipoli, Taranto, Trani; the charming historic baroque town of Lecce; the iconic Castel del Monte; delicious food and wine, and plenty of wide, farmland views worthy of an Instagram. It is the place where local Italians go to spend their summer holidays – so you know it’s the real deal.
Puglia produces olive oil, durum wheat and citrus fruits in abundance. It is also actually Italy’s top wine producing region (producing 17% of Italy’s wine) thanks to its incredible climate. Needless to say, a few winery visits are a must -Conti Leone de Castris winery, Vigne e Vini and Tormaresca are three to put on your itinerary.
How to get there?
In Puglia, there are two airports that you can fly into from Rome or Milan on CX, Bari in the middle part of Puglia and Brindisi in the South. From there, we highly recommend getting a car or organising your own driver to get around so you can take your time to explore this beautiful part of Italy at your own pace.
Where to stay?
Masseria Potenti, Manduria
Masseria Potenti is a charming farmstead, or masseria, with white walls surrounded by vineyards and olive farms. Masseria Potenti is a 16th-century estate of some 250 acres situated an hour-and-a-half away from Brindisi airport.
The estate is a restored farmstead run by former Milanese lawyer, Maria Tomassino and her husband Paolo. They serve amazing organic rustic fare using ingredients fresh from their garden. When it’s time to relax, few places beat the on-site swimming pool, set against olive trees.
Address: C.a Potenti, 74024 Manduria
Tel: +39 099 973 5408
This stylishly restored seaside B&B comprises just six rooms. Very well located, the hotel is within walking distance of the old town with its charming historical buildings, churches and lively shops. It’s also just one street away from the Marina where restaurants and bars caters to the lively nightlife of Trani.
Address: Via Ognissanti, 18 (HARBOUR AREA), 76125 Trani (BT)
Where to dine?
Al Faro, Taranto
Address: via della Pineta 3/5, Taranto, Puglia
Tel: +39 099 471 4444
La Branchina, Trani
Address: Via Banchina al Porto, Trani (BT)
Tel:0883 58 4747
An award-winning, fine-dining restaurant that serves good Italian cuisine. The restaurant has a great garden-style design and an equally good wine list.
Wineries to visit
Wine tours are a must in Puglia. Here are some of the top wineries we visited to taste some of the region’s most important and interesting drops.
Conti Leone de Castris winery, Salice Salentino
Established in 1665 by Duke Oronzo Arcangelo of the Counts of Lemos, Conti Leone de Castries is one of the oldest wineries in Puglia in Salice Salentino, rich with history and boasts its own museum – with original cellars dating centuries back.
Wines to taste: Messapia Verdeca IGT Salento, La Grande Tradizone ’50 Vendemmia’ Salice Salentino Rosso Reserve DOC and Dona Lisa Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva DOC.
Address: Via Senatore de Castris 26, 73015 Salice Salentino (Lecce)
Tel: +39 0832 731112
Tormaresca, Minervino Murgia
Tormaresca is an Antinori (big Italian wine producer) invested estate that comprises two properties, Bocca di Lupo in Castel del Monte DOC, and Masseria Maime in the Salento IGT region.
Wines to taste: This place is known for its Torcicoda Salient IGT, made from Primitivo grapes. Also try the Masseria Maine Salento LGT and the Bocca di Lupo.
Address: Loc Tofano 76013 Minervino Murge (BT)
Tel:+39 0883 692631
Vigne e Vini winery, Leporano
Vigne & Vini was established in 1921 and owners Cosimo and Maria Teresa have upped their wine-making technology to produce quality commercial wines from the native grapes of Salento – Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera, Malvasia Bianca, Aglianico and Verdeca.
Wines to taste: Vigne & Vini Papale Linea Oro Primitivo di Manduria DOC 2010 and the Chicca Primitivo di Manduria DOP 2010 made from 100 percent Primitivo grapes.
Address: 74020 LEPORANO (TA) Via Amendola, 36
Tel: +39 099 5315370